COVID booster dose will be available next year: Poonawalla
While it is possible to provide a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine for the vulnerable population of India by next year, the Serum Institute of India’s target will be to reach the unreachable, especially those in Africa, where vaccine penetration is very low, said Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the company, which produced and marketed Covishield jabs in India.
Speaking to NDTV, Poonawalla said, “Ethically and humanely, our outlook will be to vaccinate the world, especially Africa, with both doses of the vaccine first…We can’t have all of Africa with only 3 per cent people vaccinated while here we all start taking booster shots after 2 doses.”
The Serum top boss said that the elderly population or those in need will definitely have the booster dose available next year. The younger population will have to wait though for the rest of the world to get their share of the jabs, he added.
On the present pace of vaccination, Poonawalla said he is confident that the rest of the population will get the second dose by the end of the year.
India crossed a major milestone on Thursday (October 21) when the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country crossed the 100 crore (1 billion) mark. The Modi government aims to vaccinate (both doses) all of India’s 944 million adults by the end of this year.
Poonawalla gave the credit of India’s 1 billion vaccine target fulfilment to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He told NDTV, “No other world leader had such a huge population to deal with, coupled with the demographics and cultural differences that exists in India.” He, however, said that the pandemic is not over yet and “people should not let their guard down”.